Market Wrap-Up for Apr.9 (MSFT, AOL, AAPL, SHW, DIS, more)

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The markets got off to a slow start this week as traders responded to a disappointing jobs number released Friday morning (when the markets were closed).

The retail sector apparently shaved a good number of jobs, which had some analysts wondering if the recent success in companies like Apple ( AAPL ) and Amazon.com ( AMZN ) will correlate to even worse retail jobs data moving forward. Those two tech/retail giants continue to dominate an even bigger segment of the overall retail sales channel. I'm not sure how much I would buy into this claim, however, as you can make the case for discount retailers/warehouse clubs also cutting into jobs with a price-conscious consumer being ever more prevalent.

Looking at today's movers, Microsoft ( MSFT ) shares ended slightly lower on news the company is buying a large patent portfolio from AOL ( AOL ). You can't help but wonder if future innovation in the tech space will be stifled by ongoing patent wars. Meanwhile, Wall Street analyst downgrades added to the selling of Walt Disney ( DIS ), Monsanto ( MON ), and CBS Corporation ( CBS ). One company that did see positive price action was Sherwin-Williams ( SHW ), which raised guidance on the back of strong paint sales.

Dividend Stock Downgraded Today

Be sure to check out the dividend stock we just removed from our Best Dividend Stocks list this morning. We still like the name, but would wait to add new money to the shares for now.

"Motivated by the Truth"

Anyone who is a fan of CBS' 60 Minutes program (which has on television since 1968) is familiar with the probing work of journalist Mike Wallace. Mr. Wallace passed away yesterday at the age of 93.

When asked about Mr. Wallace's legacy, one media maven described him as being "motivated by the truth." I like to think we operate the same way here at Dividend.com. When we look at the financial markets, we try to attack the constant flow of information, break down what we see happening, and then anticipate will happen next. We then pass this analysis on to subscribers in the simplest, most succinct ways possible.

In contrast, much of today's business media focuses on the flavor-of-the-day stories, with little in the way of follow-up on key items that should continue to be monitored. I'm sure you've noticed the popularity of the "top 5″ or "top 3″ stories major outlets continually churn out. These attention-grabbing stories usually offer little useful knowledge, regardless of the news niche (sports, weather, business, etc.). The media treats each day as a blank canvas and then pretty much discards those headlines the following day. When the name of the game is a simple ratings grab, you can't afford to spend too much time on older stories.

This trend can cause big trouble for investors. If you can not make a longer-term case for making an investment, then all you have is the casino-like approach of "get in and get out." You either win or lose. This approach is disastrous for many investors, and thankfully most of our subscribers want no part of it.

Whether you were a fan of Mike Wallace or not, you know his interview was not based just on information learned in the last half hour, but rather hundreds of hours of painstaking research. Whatever your personal motivation is (success, wealth, truth), know that it will require much more time than you originally believe it will. Mr. Wallace certainly proved a great example of that fact.

Holiday/Weekend Anecdotes

I had a great time sitting around the holiday table with my family and getting a pulse of what people are seeing in their personal and professional lives. A couple of my older relatives who have had great academic careers and are now retired were discussing a study they just came across. They noted that 30 years ago, college graduates made 40% more than high school graduates. Today the gap is now 83%! If you have someone close to you who may not be thinking about college, that story may be a good nugget to pass along.

Also, one of my cousins who has been successful in the concrete business (in northern/central New Jersey) mentioned how tough things still are out there. He's not seeing much new work coming up on the grid, and whenever there is, he has numerous low bids to contend with. Subsequently, a lot of his jobs entail fixing other people's messes created by the subpar work of companies who originally win the jobs based on low bidding.

Overall, the gist from my relatives was that things are still tough out there. I urge everyone to be smart at all times when it comes to money matters (career, investing, saving, etc.). I also hope our readers were able to glean some good anecdotes from their own families, and of course spend some quality time with those they dearly love.

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I hope everyone had a chance to check out our Dividend.com Premium members-only weekend articles , including new features that highlight some of the biggest winners and losers from the week that was, such as analyst upgrades/downgrades and earnings/story stocks. These articles are a great way to catch up on the week that was in the markets. We also have a rundown of how various Dividend ETFs performed on the week.

Thanks for reading everybody. I'll see you tomorrow!

Be sure to visit our complete recommended list of the Best Dividend Stocks , as well as a detailed explanation of our ratings system here .



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , AMZN , AOL , CBS , DIS

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